The Ends of Stories

By Karen Loeb

Featured Image: Soir d’hiver à Montmartre (Winter Evening in Montmartre) by Jean-Alexis-Joseph Morin-Jean, 1910; Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

At the finish of the meal, your father left. And that was that.

I led a reckless life, but when the accident happened, I reformed.

So I discovered that the bananas had to be really ripe.

The bouquet was a wet bathing suit moldering in a gym bag
tossed in the corner last month.

The lost earring with the green stone turned up years later
when they moved the dresser. She’d thrown out the matching one
a decade earlier.

The smell was a casserole forgotten on the counter. Something with tuna
and onions. It greeted them when they returned from vacation.

I plan to beat the odds and live forever, he declared.

The cat was hiding in the top drawer of the bureau, flattened
as thin as a comic book, eyes peering up, blinking, when we
finally found him.

Turned out it was a moth as big as a bat making those shadows
on the cabin wall.

She went shopping for a jacket covered in feathers, just as it had
appeared in her dream.


Karen Loeb finished a two-year run as Eau Claire, Wisconsin writer-in residence. Her poetry and fiction have won contests in Wisconsin People and Ideas. You can find her poem “The Agility of Chopsticks”: https://www.wisconsinacademy.org/magazine/spring-2020/poetry/agility-chopsticks and her “Pandemic Cycle” poems: https://volumeone.org/articles/2020/10/19/267631-local-lit-pandemic-cycle

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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